Jesus Told Stories to Make a Point

By Rick Warren

Jesus Told StoriesJesus was the master storyteller. He’d say, “Hey, did you hear the one about…” and then tell a parable to teach a truth.

In fact, the Bible shows that storytelling was Jesus’ favorite technique when speaking to the crowd: “Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable.” (Matthew 13:34)

Somehow we forget that the Bible is essentially a book of God-inspired stories! That’s how God has chosen to communicate his Word to human beings.

There are many benefits to using stories to communicate spiritual truth:

  1. Stories hold our attention. The reason television became so popular is because it’s essentially a story-telling device, whether you’re watching comedy, drama, the news, or a talk show. Even the commercials are stories.
  2. Stories stir our emotions. They impact us in ways that precepts and propositions never do. If you want to change lives, you must craft the message for impact, not for information.
  3. Stories help us remember. Long after the outline is forgotten, people will remember the stories of the sermon.

It’s fascinating to watch how quickly a crowd tunes in whenever a speaker begins telling a story and how quickly that attention vanishes as soon as the story is finished!

Jesus also spoke in simple terms that normal people could understand. He didn’t use theological jargon. It’s easy to complicate the gospel, and of course, Satan would love for us to do just that. The apostle Paul worried that “your minds would be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.” (2 Cor. 11:3 NASB)

We need to remember that Jesus did not use the classical Greek language of the scholar. He spoke in Aramaic. He told stories using the street language of that day and talked of birds, flowers, lost coins, and other everyday objects that anyone could relate to.

Rick Warren

Rick Warren

Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.